Connect and Explore - Jobs

venn diagram of curriculum and personal


  • Guided Imagery (5-10 minutes)


    I want everyone to close your eyes.... imagine that it is a school day. You woke up this morning, got dressed, and came to school. Imagine yourself walking up to the school building. You reach for the handle on the front door and you pull. Nothing happens. You reach for the handle on a different door and pull. Nothing happens. You try every single door, but they are all locked! Then you notice that not many lights are on inside the school building. 

    Open your eyes.

    Do you know who unlocks the doors at our school every morning? Who turns on the lights? It's Mr./Ms. ___________, the custodian. Custodians do so many things to help our school. The very first thing they do is unlock the doors. What other things do custodians do for us (e.g., keep our school clean, take out the trash, etc.)?

    What would our school be like if we had no custodians? Turn to your neighbor and talk about what you think would happen.

    Why are custodians so important to our school?

    Why do people work? (to make money, because they like helping others, because it makes them feel good, etc.)

    In this unit we are going to research jobs. To research means to find information about something and share it with others. 

    Note to librarians:  "Third Space" is a critical component of Guided Inquiry. It is the space where  students' lives and curriculum overlap. Using real life experiences of kindergarteners as a springboard to the unit (i.e., thinking about their daily experience of coming to school) fosters this "Third Space."

    Additional Ideas for "Connect" Activities

    • Tell a story.
    • Read a book such as I Can Be Anything by Jerry Spinelli.
    • Sing a song.
    • Examine objects (e.g., tools used in jobs).
    • Analyze a compelling photograph.
    • Watch a video clip.

  • Photo Card Sort

    Small groups of students will sort photo cards into groups of items that go together. There must be at least two cards to make a group. 

    Several of the cards could fit into multiple groups, which should prompt discussion. 

    Discussion: Ask students why they grouped the photos the way they did.  Ask what they might name the various groups (e.g., people, when you go to the doctor). Discuss similarities and differences among different groups' results.

    Debrief with the class by showing examples using a document camera.

    Write important vocabulary words on a chart to be displayed throughout the unit (e.g., jobs, tools)


    • This sorting activity is designed to be open-ended. Make sure students have plenty of time and space to come up with their own groupings. The role of the librarian and teacher is to engage students in conversations about their thinking.
    • Accommodation: If students have difficulty handling so many cards at once, give them half the cards to start with, and add more cards later, as appropriate.
    • Photo Cards for Sorting
    • Photo Cards, one set per table/group (4 students max. per group)
    • Document camera
    • SMART Board, if available

  • Building Background- People at Work (10 min)

    Read the digital book People at Work (, If projecting on a SMART Board, let students click the English & Spanish narration icons. Have students describe each worker and note any features or tools they see in the photographs. Talk about why each job is important.

  • Mystery Jobs-Who is This Book About? (Approximately 20 minutes)

    Option 1: 

    Students will access the mystery job eBooks using the QR code sheet. They will solve the mysteries and write the name of each worker in the numbered spaces on the Mystery Jobs sheet.

      QR Code Sheet (see resources)               

     Myster Jobs QR codes        

     Answer Sheet (see resources)

    Mystery Jobs QR 2

    Option 2:

    Since the eBooks in this activity are only available in English, Option 2 provides additional scaffolding for Spanish-speaking students.

    Students will draw a question mark at the top of a blank page of the Research Journal. They will use the QR code sheet to access the books and use picture clues to determine the identity of the mystery job. Students will write the number 1 on the page and glue the appropriate photo card next to the number (e.g., 1 = police officer / agente de policía).

    Students may read as many of the eBooks as time allows and continue to glue cards into the research journal next to the appropriate number.

    Note: An alternative to gluing the photo cards into the journal would be to have students use the cards as a reference while writing the appropriate job name next to the number in the Research Journal.

    To Do:

    • Staple pages of Research Journal (can be blank pieces of paper)
    • Duplicate Mystery Jobs QR Code sheets, if iPads will be used to access eBooks
    • (Option 1) Duplicate Mystery Jobs sheet; or
    • (Option 2) Duplicate Mystery Jobs Answer Cards and cut them apart 


    Resources for Who is This Book About?

     Whose Equipment Is This? by Amanda Doering Tourville

    'Whose Equipment is This?
    ISBN: 9781429660808
    Publication Date: 2011
    Whose Gadgets Are These? by Amanda Doering Tourville  

  • Explore Print Resource (20 minutes)

    Explore Print Books 

    This hands-on learning experience is designed to help young researchers gather information from print resources independently.

    Display a poster or chart with the following information:

    Example of poster: job name and tools

    Give each student an index card with one green and two yellow Post-it flags affixed to the right side of the card (like the poster).

    Poster with green and yellow tabs

    Students will skim/scan a print book and locate the name of a job (e.g., firefighter). They will use a green Post-it flag to mark the word. Then students will locate two tools the worker uses and mark those photos with yellow Post-it flags. 

    Cover of Firefighters book     Firefighter Book

    When a student is ready to share research findings, he will report to a designated area of the library and sit on one side of a "Share Square." When the next student is finished, she will sit on the other side of the "Share Square." Pairs of students will share information with one another. 

    Share Square Poster

    Students who have finished sharing may gently remove the Post-it flags from the book and affix them to the index card. Students may investigate and share as many books as time permits.

    Note: It's important for the librarian/teacher to model how to share, take turns, etc.

    To Do:

    • Create a poster (see Sample Poster under Resources)
    • Affix one green and two yellow Post-it flags to index cards (one per student)
    • Create "Share Squares" (approx. 1 square per pair)


    "Share Squares" (approx. one per pair)

Phase: Connect & Explore
  • This phase is intended to:

    Connect students to the topic and spark their interest in learning more.

    Key ideas:

    • Activate background knowledge
    • Build curiosity
    • Allow time for further topic exploration independently or in small groups
    • Begin questioning